The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports & Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has vowed to authorise a review in the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) grants payment structure which has been deemed unfavourable by many sporting codes.
Khama said this last week during the launch of the 2019 UFAK Championships Local Organising Committee (LOC) in Gaborone.
According to Khama, the current structure is not working well since most of the well-deserving sporting codes and athletes are not assisted financially by the BNSC. With the current system, BNSC is responsible for holding the funds for various federations which make request to it when undertaking some activities and duly account for the money allocated afterwards.
However for a very long time, best performing sporting codes have suffered financially at the expense of the so-called big or important associations which get chunks of money from the BNSC even though results are not forthcoming.
“We need to reward those who deliver. It should not be all about those who get the biggest share but those who perform. So this will be reassessed to come up with a better structure for athletes and sports codes which do impressively well. Two months ago Ross Branch competed at the Dakar Rally and Ouma Sekokole conquered Mount Kilimanjaro and reached the peak. These are people who could have been funded. But because the current arrangement does not prioritise they were deprived of funding. We should not have a situation where it is said there is no money when athletes are going out to represent the country,” said Khama.
A typical example is Botswana Football Association (BFA) which is reported to be gobbling around P5 million annually from BNSC. This is despite football having remained of the worst performing code in the past years.
A performing code like chess is reported to be awarded P400 000 annually; an amount which is not even enough for Botswana Chess Federation (BCF). Last year BCF was forced to ask for funds from the Ministry of Basic Education in order to take the national junior team to South Africa for the Africa Individual Schools Chess Championships since their grant was used up.
For the past years, sports pundits have been calling for federations to be awarded grants based on their activities and performance; something which can help the likes of Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and Botswana Karate Association (BoKA).
The two associations remain Botswana’s most successful codes since as they constantly bring medals in every competition they compete in internationally. However they are poorly funded due to the structure adopted by BNSC.
BAA is reported to be getting P1 million annually but the amount is low since athletics has many local and international events to take part in. Just last month BAA’s grant was reported to have been depleted. BAA President Mooketsi Thari confirmed this. “Yes it is true our grant is currently at zero due to many events that athletics always participate in. So we are currently using the IAAF Olympic Athletics funds which are meant for development,”said Mooketsi.